Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating Latinx

Sierra Campbell

National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized by the United States to honor the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx communities in North America.

Kent State started its Hispanic Heritage Month with a kick-off luncheon on Friday, Sept. 14.

“Hispanic Heritage Month allows people to learn more about the Hispanic culture and community,” said T. David Garcia, Kent State’s associate vice president for enrollment management and chair of the Latino Networking Caucus (LNC) in a press release.

“At Kent State, we have faculty, staff and students from different Latin American countries that have their own traditions of music, food and dance,” Garcia said.  

The LNC, a group of students, staff and faculty interested in Latinx culture, honored its community members at the luncheon through education and fellowship.

Thalia Anguiano, a graduate higher education and student personnel major, does not identify as Hispanic, but she has changed the meaning of this month to relate to her.  

“To be Hispanic is to come from European descent,” she said. “To use Hispanic as a blanket term for all Latinx’s is unacceptable, especially considering that our lands were colonized by the Europeans.”

Latinx is a term used to identify all ethnicities and nationalities of Latin descent in addition to also being gender neutral. The term Hispanic is used interchangeably to identify what many think are Latin Americans regardless of their nationality.

“I’ve refrained from using (the term Hispanic) and now celebrate “Latinx Heritage Month,’” Anguiano said. “I do not spend a month celebrating the colonizers. I spend a month celebrating los peleadores (‘the fighters’).”

Anguiano looks up to many Latina women and values their role in the U.S. She said Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor is her role model.

“Her being the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court and reading about her ability to be authentic in her culture and expressing that through her work is not only reassuring for me as a Latina woman that I am able to be successful and authentic,” Anguiano said.

“It has been absolutely amazing to see so many Latina women come together and run for office, support one another and create community amongst one another,” Anguiano said.

In the U.S., Latina women face difficulties when it comes to fair treatment and wages in the workplace.

Within her life Anguiano has needed to shake off the hyper-sexualization of Latina women in society as well as fitting into society’s expectations of Latina women.

“It has meant that I have needed to bite my tongue when meeting with people because I don’t want to be known as the ‘aggressive’ Latina,”Anguiano said. “ All the negative stuff aside, (being Latina) has also been a very empowering experience.”

Sierra Campbell is the women’s and gender issues reporter. Contact her at [email protected].